Orange seems to be a very fashionable colour at the moment. It’s a colour that pops, that draws the eye, has warm and sunny connotations and clashes badly with pink. It is also the colour of the leather upholstery in the newly refurbished and recently re-opened 45 Jermyn Street, previously know as the Fountain Restaurant of Fortnum & Mason.
“It’s very orange in here,” we said as we sat down at our comfortable table for two to enjoy a casual Saturday lunch. We pride ourselves in being able to state the bleeding obvious, but the kind waiter was polite enough to pretend he hadn’t really noticed how distractingly striking the colour choice is, as he explained it had been chosen due to its ability to age well. “It’ll only get prettier with time.” he told us as he handed us the menu, and he’s almost certainly right. It’s already pretty now; brand new, clean, modern, and complemented nicely with minty green walls, golden railings and shining mirrors.Unlike the store within which this restaurant is set, it is not overly busy. There’s a gentle murmur of chatter, but no panicked raised voices of people desperate to find the perfect Christmas gift. The atmosphere is relaxed, a little bit sophisticated but not pretentious or stuffy.
The menu is varied and reasonably priced, with many dishes I love, and plenty I have always wanted to try. Including caviar. Proper caviar. Not the “poor mans” lumpfish caviar I usually buy from Sainsbury’s.
And this certainly is no poor mans caviar, though a few too many grams of the stuff and you soon could become a poor man. 10g, the minimum amount you can order, is £20. And to get an idea of how much 10g is, get your magnifying glass out and see the picture below. One spoonful and it’s gone, in one heavenly delicious mouthful! It is weighed and measured on the caviar trolley which has been wheeled over to your table (now everyone knows you’re a bit fancy and have ordered caviar. Major sophistication points, there!). You watch your waiter meticulously spoon out the caviar onto the scale, with careful precision to ensure not to under or over serve you.
Luckily you don’t just get a little mount of caviar for your £20; along side it comes a rack of warm, crustless toast, a silver bowl of soft, salted new potatoes, a small tower of fluffy blinis and a cooling heap of sour cream, which makes it seem like more of a meal than you might initially have thought, which naturally, you’re a lot more happy with, but then the hob atop of the trolley ignites, your waiter pulls out a jug from the bottom shelf and pours a beautiful sunshine yellow liquid into a pan. Your mouth drops as you realise he’s making you the best god-damn scrambled eggs you’ll ever have in your life!
The scrambled eggs are gloriously fluffy and a stunning shade of perfect yellow, and unlike the scrambled eggs I make (which tend to start life as an omelette until an ill-conceived ‘flip’ causes them to lose form and turn to a pale, semi-watery mess) they aren’t overworked, rubbery or reminiscent of a styrofoam peanut. They are perfect! Pile them onto the toast with a little sour cream and a modest heap of caviar and you have yourself a beautiful little mouth full.
As large as this caviar portion actually turned out to be, it wasn’t enough to feed us both for lunch, and so we ordered a few others things from their menu, all of which are usually served as starters.
The Grilled Bones with Parmesan and Parsley Salt, Snails with Gorgonzola and Garlic Butter and the Octopus with Braised Barlotti Beans and Chorizo all made their way to our table.
The Grilled Bones also served with toast were piping hot, and were served with a super rich, deep jus which was poured over and into the bones crevices, coating the slimy, intense marrow with it’s decadent meaty flavour. A sprinkle of the parmesan and salt elevated each mouthful, but i’m glad this is a dish we were sharing as the flavour soon became over powering; the best part of this dish comes in the first few mouthfuls.
There’s a running joke going between myself and my boyfriend; over the summer we visited Lake Garda in Italy, where we enjoyed a stunning tasting menu on the banks of the lake. We didn’t quite hear what one of the dishes we had been served consisted of, but I was adamant it was pork. I think I actually insisted it was. well… it turns out it was snails *face palm* I may be the only person who thinks the two can be compared, but once again I did found the snails served to us in 45 Jermyn Street do taste similar to a pork chop. They were delicate and juicy and meaty. I’d advised you use the holders provided (do they have an official name?) as these are hot, however the problem with them being served in the shell is that the meat of the snail hasn’t had the chance the really soak up the flavours from the added sauces. When served in a dish, you can repeatedly dip your snail into the buttery juices and alter the taste to your preference, yet when scooping from the shell, the juices drip to the plate and the saltiness of the gorgonzola and the buttery, garlic oils are lost. But that’s not to say these weren’t beautiful little nuggets of tastiness.
The Octopus with Braised Barlotti Beans and Chorizo was sadly a bit of a disappointment for me, because it turns out barlotti beans are extremely similar to my food nemesis: the kidney bean. I had to eat around much of the dish through fear one of these pesky little beans would end up in my mouth. The octopus was good though. Not too chewy, but at the same time, not packed with a whole lot of flavour. The chorizo seemed to be MIA (unless Josh ate it all while I was busy squeaming from the site of the beans) and in comparison to the other flavour packed dishes, this one just fell a little flat.
But we didn’t end the meal on a low note, because after a quick browse of the dessert menu, we decided to take a new direction of after dinner sweet and opted for a couple of their Floats.
I’m quite the fan of whisky and bourbon so I chose the Brown Butter Syrup, Four Roses Bourbon, Soda, Cornflake Ice Cream float which in the words of Hot-Dinners was “lethally alcoholic.” Though very tasty, I actually found I had a mild headache by the time I had finished (admittedly I had been drinking for a while before we went for lunch) and I didn’t really enjoy the sparkling element that the addition of soda had provided. This would have been better served as a smooth, almost creamy drink – not a milk shake, of course, but the juxtaposition of the ice cream and the bubbles confused my mouth which is not what I needed as I began to approach a mid-afternoon hangover!
Josh on the other hand had the Pineapple & Honey Syrup, with Botanist Gin, Maraschino, Black Olive, Soda and Strawberry Ice Cream. We had just tried some Botanist gin in Selfridges and decided we both loved it so it seemed like fate that it should find itself in our path again. Josh’s was a lot sweeter than mine (which makes sense given the fruity ingredients) and a lot lighter. The soda went slightly better with this combination than it did mine, but still i’d rather it had been left out. But perhaps that defeats the point.
I loved our visit to 45 Jermyn Street. I really did. I didn’t know what to expect when we visited – I hadn’t read any reviews, seen any pictures or heard the hype surrounding the caviar trolley so I really had no expectations, so everything was exciting and new. I really do recommend a visit, even just for those scrambled eggs alone!
Unless otherwise stated, the photos featured in this post were taken from the @45jermynst Instagram account or 45jermynst.com